Thursday, November 30, 2017

Mipui Barred/Locked/Trapped Doors Generator + 1d4 Random Door Traps

Mipui is a great website that I've been using to design my recent dungeon maps. It's awesome, but it doesn't seem to have a trapped/locked door icon for separator between two squares. So instead, I've worked in a system to randomize them when you come upon them.

Whenever you come across a door that is marked on your map, roll 1d4
  1. Barred
  2. Locked & Trapped
  3. Trapped
  4. Locked
Barred doors are blocked by metal or wood poles, junk, foot thick spiderweb, corpses, etc. Barred doors can be opened with prybars and time, but make a lot of noise and you must make a wandering monster checks to open.

Locked doors must be picked open by a Rogue. Locks have a difficulty of 10 + average HD of the monsters in this dungeon or the dungeon's general level.

Trapped doors have a random trap. They activate when the door is opened, make a save to avoid it if you're the character opening the door. On locked & trapped doors, traps activate when the door is picklocked instead.

Random Traps 1d4
  1. Gong Trap- Loud gong, no save. Make a wandering monster check.
  2. Crossbow Trap- Each passed save, person behind makes save. First fail takes 1d6 bolt.
  3. Boiling Trap- Releases liquid that instantly boils and spills through archway. 1d4 to all passing.
  4. Trapdoor- Fall to the floor below, or take 1d6 from short drop, half if unencumbered.
Happy 100th post!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Dark Sorcerer or "Anti-Sage"

My post on Sages and the Sage Magic system is the most popular post on my blog. In celebration, I will make an opposite class. Sages are the support casters of a dungeon crawling party, they will usually be the white or good magician character. Since the rules are meant to be as setting agnostic as possible, you could fluff a Sage as being a generic white wizard, kindly healer, wise man, religious priest praying for miracles, or a psychic medium.

But what about the opposite? All the powers of the Sage, but made dark and twisted. Sages have spells that heal and support, so the Anti-Sage has spells that harm and curse. Sages serve the light, law, or goodness. Anti-Sages serve darkness, chaos, and evil.

Since “Anti-Sage” is a bit of a lame name, let's just call them Sorcerers instead.

Combination of Evil Cleric + MU. Saves and health as Magic User.

Sorcerers cast dark spells by rolling 2d6 vs target difficulty HD as Sages do. The effects are simply reversed. Rolling a 1 on either die gives -1 ongoing, you have to roll 7 or better to succeed on a basic roll, etc.

All Sorcerers are tutored in the dark arts, and know the following powers.

Roll vs HD of creature or spirit you are trying to summon. Must be near a threshold, portal, or the location where the creature or spirit can pass over. This can bring forth the being, but it cannot bind them which must be done through sacrifices or negotiation with the entity.

Roll vs number of damage points to inflict. Harm usually manifests as a sudden rending of flesh, a wasting or rotting of the target's body, black bolts or sickly green light. Elemental damage is more 'neutral'.

Roll vs HD of target. Add +1 to the difficulty of this spell per HD of creature's ability you are emulating. ie; HD 2 spitting cobra spit, blinding spell has +2 HD difficulty.

Roll vs HD equal to malus to enemy roll. ie if you want to give them a -2 to their roll, counts as HD 2. When cast the Sorcerer must choose the exact roll or action that gets the negative.

Roll vs HD of candle-light worth of illumination to snuff out. Can also literally snuff out candles. Just the opposite of the light spell, can be cast on regular darkness as well and can make areas supernaturall dark and forboding.

Roll vs HD equal to damage dice of trap or hazard. Opposite of warning, makes it harder to sense traps or items OR gives out a bad feeling to make a place feel haunted and unwelcome.

Roll vs HD equal to turns it would take to repair item or the number of rations. Ruins, rusts, and putrefies supply items. You can cast this on a farm to make things generally sick and cause the damage before the food has even been prepared.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Labyrinth Library

Floating Obscurer (3)
 Labyrinth Library
For OSR Adventures
Roll 1d20

Wrath is a special mechanic in the Labyrinth Library. Every time a party member damages or destroys a book OR gains Wrath as specified in each Encounter. The more Wrath the players gain, the darker and more dangerous the Library gets.

[1] Several books animate and fly from shelf to shelf, reorganizing themselves as needed. If you pick one of the books out of the air the party gains 1 Wrath.

[2] Cool Fountain sits in the middle of a small circular room of books. It is pure drinking water, but otherwise has no special properties.

<Wrath is 4 or Greater>
The Fountain is replaced with foul smelling green water. The water burns your tongue terribly and deals 1 point of Con damage if drunk.

[3] Book of Mouths. Magic book on a podium. The book is tied to the podium with a silver chain. Removing it from this chain will incur 1 Wrath. Each page has a mouth drawn upon it, which can come alive. Roll d6 for a random page;
  1. Jolly Fat Woman's Mouth- Sings Opera. Loud enough to crack glass equipment or items, roll for random Encounter.
  2. Beast's Mouth- Snarls and bites the reader, save or take 1d6 damage
  3. Sorcerer's Mouth- The Sorcerer Mouth casts 'Charm Person' on whoever opens the book to this page, trying to get them to remove the book from the podium.
  4. Snake's Mouth. Sounds like hissing to everyone in the party except the most dishonest. The snake mouth tells them about [4], but asks them not to share.
  5. Baby Mouth. Laughs, party feels oddly relieved. Removes -1 Wrath.
  6. Stitched up mouth. Depending on Wrath;
    (1 or less) Doesn't speak.
    (2-3) Makes dire prophecy
    (4 or more) Screams dealing 2d6 damage to party
[4] Ordinary looking bookshelf with a silver trim. There is a large red book on the shelf which has a hallowed out middle that holds a gold chain studded with rubies and sapphires. Worth 600 g.

[5] Leering faces peek out from between book shelves. The book shelves are pressed against the wall. While creepy they actually are quite talkative and will give the party directions.

<Wrath is 2 or Greater>
The faces will give directions but will always try to lead the party towards [6] or [7] either on the way to their destination or lying to claim it is their destination.

[6] Small Maze-like section of the library that seems eager to trap people within. It only takes 1 Turn to find your way back out of it, but trying to break through the white-paneled walls as a shortcut will gain the party +1 Wrath. No matter how many times the party smashes through the walls here they still only gain a single point of Wrath.

<Wrath is 2 or Greater>
Maze shifts its position and seems generally darker and more cluttered. Takes 1d4 turns to find yourself out.

<Wrath is 4 or Greater>
The maze has become bitch black and Dark creatures inhabit it. Roll 1d4 Darklings to attack every turn you are in this maze, takes 2d4 turns to find your way out.

Darklings (1HD, +1 AC, d6 shadow claws)
Darklings appear to have physical and solid shapes but defy any kind of description or sorting out. Light makes them recoil and if cornered somewhere they will simply die instead of being known. Light spells deal damage equal to caster level if used on the Darklings.

[7] Appears as a regular hallway but with a gigantic guillotine trap, that comes out between two shelves. The trap deals 1d8+1 damage; save vs traps/agility to avoid. Resets itself after 1 turn unless permanently disabled by a skilled person.

[8] Feasting Hall. Long table set in center of library, books piled to the sides to make room for past meals. Underneath the table about halfway down is a iron dagger bound with a strap to the underside of the great table. Within this dagger is a smaller golden dagger that can only be opened with a twisting motion. Worth 80 gold.

<3 Wrath or Greater>
Several friendly hobbits manage a nearby oven and offer meat pies to the player characters. The meat is very obviously rancid and possibly of human origin. If refused the Halflings will attack (stats as goblin, 1d6+1 Halflings)

[9] In the center of a small outlet in the Labyrinth lies the corpse of the old librarian. An elder human with a purple sash, ripped and torn by claws. On his body is a silver chain and 1d6x10 copper pieces in a burlap sack.

Looting his body does not incur Wrath, but burying him in the dirt outside the library or in [10] removes -1 Wrath from the party.

[10] Book-Trees. Floorboards of the library torn up to reveal dirt underneath, with large trees around the room. The trees are 'growing' books, with tiny unripened books being terribly misspelled and poorly paced penny dreadfuls, while fully ripe books fall off, revealing a random volume on matters such as philosophy, poetry, or natural sciences.

Any scholarly characters who examine the books and know of literature will notice that the books are not wholly original, but instead regrowth of ancient books once held within the library, as if growing to replace the damaged, destroyed and pilfered books of the library. Damage to the booktrees causes 1 immediate Wrath.

One tree has upon a branch a golden apple. You do not gain any Wrath for taking it, but it is high up.

<Wrath of 4 or more>
The book trees groan angrily at the party as they approach. If they don't leave immediately, the trees summon forth a random Encounter to attack.

[10] Spellbook Section. Several spellbooks lay behind a locked glass case. This can be opened either by the Minotaur Librarian or by conventional means. Smashing the glass also works, but incurs 1 Wrath.

The spellbooks within contain random 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level spells, 1d6 of each level. Additionally there is a black book that contains 1d4 higher level spells, one of which includes Disintegrate or similar high level damage spell.

Included in this black book is instruction such the spell can be cast by using one lower spell slot category (and therefore cast by a less experienced magic user), but casting the spell this way deals 1 Constiution damage to the caster. This is not expressly told in the book.

<2 Wrath or Greater>
One of the books on the shelf is replaced with a Book Golem, which activates either when opened or removed from the shelf and ignored for a moment.

Book Golem (3 HD, +2 to Hit, 2 attacks, holds 2 paper swords; deals d4 damage, weak to fire)

The Book Golem unfolds from the book with the center of its chest being the opened book as sort of a breastplate. The paper that makes up its body is unnaturally thick and hard to injure, but it is as easy to light on fire as any book.

Killing or damaging the Golem does not incur any Wrath.

[11] Minotaur Librarian's Home. Large cottage built in some forgotten aisle of the library. Breaking into his house and/or stealing any of his things make him gain 2 Wrath, but ONLY for purposes of calculating his Wrath based abilities and mechanics.

The home is sparse but contains a few (1d6+1) engraved ivory drinking horns, worth 10 gold each. Additionally, the Minotaur's battle axe is here, which is a d10 great weapon.

[12] The Minotaur Librarian. He is browsing a random aisle of the library, nearly ignoring the party unless they make enough noise. He is scholarly, honorable and talkative and will discuss any books or academic subjects at length.

As long as the party does not anger him by breaking into his house, stealing his things or attacking him, and as long as they remain <4 Wrath points, he will be extremely helpful and even guide the players towards parts of the library or open locked doors for them.

He will not engage any of the monsters of the library and will instead pretend not to notice, refusing to comment on it if pressed.

<Wrath of 4 or Greater>
The Minotaur goes berserk and seeks to destroy the party. Add him to the wandering monster encounters from now on.

Minotaur Librarian (HD equal to number of party Wrath points. + to hit and AC equal to HD, d10 battleaxe damage once he retrieves it)

[13] Random desk that has a floating magic quill, writing on its own. Taking the quill or speaking in this area will anger the resident Whisperer Demon, who attacks the loudest person in the party.

The quill itself is magic and writes whatever is said to it, but anyone speaking overwrites the last thing it was told to write. It writes at normal writing speed and if broken ceases to work.

Whisperer Demon (1HD, +3 AC, invisible, d4 claw attack)
Nearly powerless demon that can only tempt people to sin by whispering things into their ears. Clerics get a +2 to turning attempts against this weak-willed demon.

Currently writing strongly-worded letters to the nearest king in an attempt to get him to cheat on his wife with the queen of the trolls. He can't find his way out of the dungeon and has messed up the letter so many times that he will attack anyone who breaks his concentration.

<Wrath of 4 or Greater>
The demon has become a much more powerful Tempter, gaining +1 HD and being able to cast Charm on party members.

[14] The Table of Contents. Large leather bound book on a stool. This book gives directions to the location of every single mundane and common book in the library. If the players have any subject in mind, they can follow the table of contents to find it and take it. This does not cover for 'rare' books or magic books, which are a separate category.

Additionally, if the table of contents is damaged or destroyed in the player's position, even by accident, 1 Wrath is gained.

[15] Fairytale escaped from a book. The area around the party shifts to reflect generic stories of knights and castles, talking animals, fairies, princesses and dragons, and so on. This still takes place in the Library, but books are stacked like castles, a gremlin is forced into a pink dress, etc.

The Fairytale will try to get the party members to play out a famous or silly tale that wastes 2d4 turns to play out fully, and will require at least one acting check (roll d20 + charisma bonus vs Fairytale health) to end.

Escaped Fairytale (3HD, can only deal d4 damage but can mess things up in other ways, noncorporeal- manipulates reality.)

You can end the Fairytale by either playing along or derailing the story so much and corrupting it that it gives up. Each time you do derail or mess up the story you deal 1d6+charisma bonus damage.

The Fairytale can summon a monster with 1HD once per turn and can move objects or items, as well as deal d4 damage from 'accidents' around you if you anger it.

Add +1 to damage AND number of monsters it can summon at once per point of Wrath

[16] Gremlin-Stocker's hovel. Home of the gremlin book stockers, its just a nasty camp of old discarded metal and fabric.

The gremlins constantly hide and steal from each other, but always hide their valuables under their beds so they don't teach the other gremlins any new hiding places after they steal back stuff.
They have 2d10 copper coins and a golden key, one of which opens the Tome of Turmoil.

[17] Restricted Books, locked in a room behind an iron door. The keys to this case are only found on the Minotaur Librarian, and this is the one room he refuses to open for the party members. Sneaking in other ways is also possible. No matter how you enter this room the library rejects your presence here and you gain 1 Wrath.

Within this room are 2d6 tomes of great power but also treachery and darkness, each one of them is worth 1d6x100 gold if returned and sold on the open market. One of the book details the worst thing in the world, a monster so horrible that merely uttering its name will summon it. Another book teaches the exact secret and process of turning a necromancer into a lich.

The Tome of Turmoil is also in the room; locked with its own golden lock, and warns on the front cover to not open the book under any circumstances. (Check sub-table if opened)

[18] Pen Pals. Ghostly figures of people appear floating in and out of books, call to players to write about them.

Every line the player writes about the spirits, or giving the spirit a personality, appearance, or fictional life story and skills will make that part of the spirit's being from now on, and also drains 1d4 of a random stat from the writing player.

The spirits beg to be made more and more real by writing more and more. They promise to be helpful as well- following the players about and levitating their personal book. If denied too long they will wail and cause a random encounter.

The only way to destroy the spirits once written about is to either destroying their book (1 Wrath) or write the spirit's own personality or 'story' into a corner, which makes them cease to exist.
Additionally, if any party member dies before the book spirits are destroyed, or if a total of 20+ stat points are dumped into them, the spirits will combine into a real life person of random gender, race, age and class with some skills and traits in the written passages. Replacement PC

[19] Small wing of the library with extremely heavy and confusing books. Entire books are written in highly flowery and nonsensical script, often with ink-heavy childish doodles in the margins of the pages.

Each book is actually written with ink that is partially gold. Burning the books and sifting the ashes will find the gold in tiny flakes, or a chemical concoction made by an alchemist can congeal the ink into lumps of pure gold.

There are 20 volumes and each volume is worth about 5 gold coins worth in gold. Destroying the books inside the library will cause Wrath.

The only way for party members to identify the books as containing gold is to have some way to detect treasure, to learn about it in The History of the Library Labyrinthine (Restricted Book section) or to naturally deduce it from how the books are heavier then same sized books with regular ink.

[20] The Editor. Powerful Wizard who lives within the library, unable to leave due to predilection towards books and text. The Editor is insane and is looking for 'students' (Students of Iron) He is also known to cast permanent but minor transformation spells to the party's appearances or equipment if he thinks they are 'better that way', such as changing the fighter's fiery-red hair to become naturally blond, making the female characters bustier, straightening the old witch's crooked nose, etc.

Conjurer of the Pen Pals and seeking many of the unusual books in the library, as well as means to access the Restricted Section. Can also sense the party's Wrath level and will comment on it, warning them to leave if they reach 2-3 Wrath.

The Editor (3HD, varied stats, casts powerful spells, gains +1 to damage per party Wrath)
If threatened the Editor will typical transform into a paper dragon, which has +2 to hit and AC and has an 'ink' breath attack which sticks to everything and makes stealth impossible. Weak to fire. Can also turn into a bird or an ogre, casts Baleful Polymorph, turns people to stone etc.

Wandering Monsters
roll 1d6
(1) Ganglion Scholars (2HD, +2 AC, d6 claw damage or casts a hex that deals 1d4 damage to character Dexterity; causes swelling of joints)
Appearing; 1d4+1

Rail-thin creatures seemingly made of just bones and skin, with thick and hard lumps where their joints and hands are. Each one of them has a random number (1d4) eyes, that they use to read as many books at once.

They chatter among themselves about the latest news, poetry, and discoveries in the library in an unspeakable alien dialect. For this reason it is very easy to sneak up on them (+2 to sneaking)

Each point of Wrath cause the ganglion scholars to deal +1 damage with claws and hex.

(2) Students of Iron (1 HD, +2 AC, +1 to hit, d6 rusted iron rods. Immune to transmutation spells, polymorphing, and paralysis)
Appearing; 2

Robed apprentices with faces that look covered in silver paint. Their face has actually been partially transformed into Iron, meaning they can no longer speak or express emotions.
They wordlessly gather books, materials, and fight a few other creatures of the library. As long as the players do not interfere, they are neutral, but they will attempt to take any MU characters spellbook or other books sought by the editor by force if they see it or overhear the party talking about it.

One of the students will have a golden face (+1 HD and AC) has the power to transform into a random magic creature. (25% of each; Werewolf, Succubus, Troll, Giant Bee)
Each point of Wrath causes another student of Iron to appear. At 4 or Greater Wrath there will +1 additional golden faced students in each group.

(3) Floating Obscurer (2 HD, -2 AC, constant flight, has poison breath attack dealing d4 damage per round it is breathed in. Lasts 1 round)
Appearing; One

Fat, bulbous man with light green putrid skin. Wears a fluffy and feathery outfit that has lost almost all its color and shine due to age and decay. The man has has has eyes stitched shut, and seems to fumble around, but can see just fine even in dark places. It can often be seen rearranging books on the shelves while cackling to itself, messing them up. Also likes to punch any flying books out of the air, which flutter to the ground like injured birds. This is a sign one is near.

The Obscurer likes to throw books at the party and stay out of reach usually, but gets in close to use his breath attack since it dissipates so quickly. If injured will probably just fly over the shelves and retreat, laughing all the way.

Each point of Wrath makes the Obscurer's gas last 1 round longer. At four or greater wrath, the Obscurer releases a cloud of his smoke on death.

(4) Stocker Gremlins (1 HD, stats as goblin but with d4 shivs and improvised weapons)
Appearing; 1d4

These Gremlins appear like small goblins or kobolds but furred. Surprisingly well kept, but very stupid. Cannot read, has a magical sense of where each book goes upon touching it.

The group of gremlins is tied via chain and collar to a large iron push-cart. They pick up books and return them to their proper place on the shelves, a job they despise. They do not attack party members unless insulted or if the party picks up any book in front of them and doesn't put it back; they can speak common (poorly) as well as snippets of other languages.
Every Wrath causes the Gremlins to gain +1 HP and become more aggressive. At 4 or more Wrath, the gremlins have attached spikes to their cart and will try to ram it into anyone in their way.

(5) Book Worms (1HD, d6 bite, can burrow and curl up inside a book to avoid an attack)
Appearing; 1d6

White worms roughly the size of a cat. Some worms have tiny black markings on them that appear like words as camouflage, but the letters are just jumbled up gibberish. Tend to jump out of books that they use for nests and hiding places.

Killing the worms or their book nests does not count for gaining more Wrath, as the worms already ruined parts of the library.

Add another 1d4 worms per each point of Wrath.

(6) Lantern Skeleton (1HD, d6 shortswords)
Appearing; 1d4

These generic skeletons have flames within their skulls and put light out from their eyes at an unnatural brightness and range.

If the party members already have light sources the skeletons will be aggressive, if they do not the skeletons will instead crowd around the party and simply try to illuminate things for them.

Helpful skeletons are often targeted by other monsters and traps of the Library. 50% chance one of the friendly skeletons likes the party so much that they will travel out of the Library with them and follow them anywhere they go, lighting the way and no longer becoming aggressive even if encountering lights brighter then his own.

If at 4 Wrath or Greater, the skeletons will pretend to be friendly until the party need them most, and then will extinguish their own lights and become regular aggressive skeletons without light instead.

Tome of Turmoil
If the players open this Tome...
  • Add +1d6 Wrath
  • Chilling Scream is heard throughout the entire Library Labyrinth
  • Conjure a random encounter at their immediate location, ambushed
  • The Editor seeks to destroy them and take the tome for himself.
  • All books carried by the party members have their words scrambled.
Note; Scrambled Books include MU books unless a Save vs Magic is made, which only protects their personal spellbook. Regular books can be unscrambled at a rate of one book per day of downtime, but spellbooks require one day per highest level of spell within that book.

Additionally, for a number of days equal to amount of Wrath they have when they leave the Library the party will be unable to enter any Libraries or private book collections of greater then 100 books or else they will be attacked by conjured monsters from the Library itself.

The book can be sold to dark Wizards for 10,000 gold or more, but it is rumored that within the books mysterious pages are the secrets to starting the apocalypse.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

ASU- Bonus Classes

These are some extra classes I have been brainstorming to be added to the ASU ruleset. I am not planning on using these classes anytime soon, they are just advanced or extra content that one could use. I would only use these classes if I had a larger group who want more character differentiation, long time players who are bored of the basic three, or a campaign with a larger scope then going into dungeons since these classes could approach more topics.

To keep with the original quality of the first three classes, these classes need to be unique and equally special, resulting in some much needed changes. For starters, Fighter attack bonus should only count for melee combat and the Sage saving throw bonus should be changed to Save vs Death. The Occultist being resistant to magic spells fits better, since the Sage is the one more about exorcism and protection vs level drain and undead and all that.

I think these classes are pretty close in keeping with the spirit of the original three; each is a bit unique and brings something new to the table, and none of them step on each others toes.

The Marksman being highly skilled with ranged weapons and the inclusion of some magic arrows means that they are the best at dealing large amounts of ranged damage. It gives a sort of Legend of Zelda vibe with the elemental and special arrows, and it also sort of makes the 'blaster' class not a Wizard but instead the Marksman.

The Courtesan and new language rules make them practically the only class that can actually trade or barter with intelligent creatures.

Finally, the Occultist is more like a traditional Wizard then the support magic of the Sage with a more restrictive resource management and freeform magic.

[Marksman] d8 – Add level to Bombardment saves
Whenever you make an attack roll with a ranged weapon, add your level to that roll.
Start with 2 equipment, one special arrow, and 2 supply items.

[Courtesan] d6 – Add level to Mind saves
You gain 1 language point per level. If your level + language bonus + reaction check bonus is at least double the highest HD creature of a group you roll an Encounter check with, then your result will always be least Unfriendly, never Hostile. If your total is triple the HD, the result will always be at least Neutral, never Unfriendly or Hostile. If quadruple or better, at least Friendly.
Start with 1 equipment and 3 supply items.

[Occultist] d6 – Add level to Spell and Magic Item saves
You add your level to rolls to identify items. You may cast spells by expending reagents and making a magic roll. You can cast a number of spells per adventure equal to your level. If the spell roll fails, the reagents are lost but your use is not expended.
Start with 1 equipment and 2 supply items.

When you reach max level 10:
[Marksman] Create a killing arrow meant for one specific creature or person.
[Courtesan] Appointed to political position. Granted legion of flunkies and writ of travel.
[Occultist] Gain a tower, attract apprentices.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Freeform Ritual Magic

Freeform magic is one of those things that is both enticing to some people, but extremely difficult if nigh-impossible to actually pull off in a way that is satisfying. Despite everything in the game already going via DM fiat, freeform magic requires just even a little bit more.

Regardless I've still always wanted to try it and think it fits well with high fantasy. If you're playing a Sage, add half your level to the roll if you're casting a beneficial, divination, or “sealing the ancient evil” type of spells.

Freeform Ritual Magic
For this system, all magic or “elements” is divided into 10 forms for ease of use. These are equivalent to the forms from Ars Magica.

Beasts (body and mind), Images (perceivable things), Plants, Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Mind, Body (of intelligent creatures), and Prime (magic itself).

To cast a spell, you need a ritual component similar to each form of magic you're using, as well as sympathetic elements to influence them, and finally a fetter to bind your spell to whatever you are casting it upon. Fetters are usually personal effects if cast on a person, a bit of silt or a brick if cast on a location, or an inanimate object itself if cast upon it.

For example, if you wanted to cast a spell on a rival shepards flock to make them stampede and flee you would need a Beast element, a fetter, and something that causes fear (especially to sheep). In this case, something like the wool of one of the sheeps in his flock could work for two categories.

Once your ritual is completed, roll d20 + intelligence mod. Depending on how difficult the effect is, it will be harder and harder to pull off. Ritual spells done this way must be localized and specific, you can't really cast a ritual spell to topple an empire unless you were really high level. Ritual spells often follow the magical path of least resistance, and so there is often a question is the ritual even had an effect at all. In the above example, a wolf might break into the paddock and cause the sheep to flee, which could be caused by the spell or not, nobody knows. Higher level characters could have ritual effects that display vulgar and obvious magic though, such as a ghostly spirit that appears to spook the sheep away instead of a subtle sort of thing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Magic Arrow Fluff + 12 Magic Arrows

Knockback, Conflagration, and Pinning Arrows
What's a Magic Arrow?
One time use powerful weapons, fired from a bow. Most Magic Arrows have an area of effect, like a wooshing nova or dark cloud or fiery blast from the point of impact. Making a Hazard save can let you avoid some or all of the negative effects. Use a Hazard save if using traditional ASU triple class system, or use a new 'Bombardment' save if using the “advanced” classes.

Where do Magic Arrows come from?
Archers make them. I prefer my fantasy settings to be less Wizard and magic user focused, so it is the best and most mystic archers themselves who make the arrows. Some probably form naturally or are made by Gods and Spirits.

After all, the only difference between a hunter creating a special boar-hunting arrow out of the tusk-tip of the biggest hog he's killed and another rolling a half-forgotten dream in morning dew and tying it together with cobwebs to create a sleep arrow is the level and magic bonus of the characters.

12 Magic Arrows
[1] Night-Sky Blanket Arrow
Firing this arrow up into the sky during the day creates a 'seam' the flows horizontally from the arrow, creating a 'blanket' of night over the daylight. The blanket stays up in the air and then slowly fades away over 6 combat rounds. Creatures of the daylight will have penalties for seeing while fighting under the blanket, despite the bright surroundings just a short ways away. Any competent archer can fire the arrow hard and high enough to cover an entire field or city block. Expert archers could stretch it across a whole city or valley, drenching it in unnatural darkness.

[2] Honey-Hive Arrow
Bright orange arrow with honey-comb head. Conjures a swarm of bees where it lands, dealing 1d4 damage per turn against all thin skinned opponents nearby. If the arrow hits a target directly, the swarm targets them first. If the arrow's damage on hit kills the target, their corpse bleeds 1d4 honey rations.

[3] Volley Arrow
This arrow splits magically into dozens of other arrows, and flies in a great cloud. Roll 3 attacks per enemy within a cone, and roll normal damage for each attack that hits.

[4] Shrapnel Arrow
This arrow deals normal damage, then fires forth a cloud of sharp projectiles in the opposite direction of the angle the arrow hit. Deals 2d6 to those directly next to the arrow blast, and 1d6 for those farther away. Add +1d6 to damage if an enclosed space like a room or hallway. Skilled marksmen can angle the arrows to fire their shrapnel around corners.

[5] Conflagration Arrow
Creates a liquid explosive that fills in space of pure flame. Deals 2d6 fire damage to all within a small area, if not indoors the range is incredibly small.

[6] Icicle Arrow
Ice arrows that melts after hitting an enemy. Deals +2 ice damage and leaves no evidence. If used during a winter storm add +2 to hit. Chills enemies, dropping their initiative by -1.

[7] Knockback Arrow
Has a round cube arrow head made of some kind of stone. When it hits enemies, knocks them back ft equal to damage, and can sometimes shatter heavy armor open.

[8] Pinning Arrow
Solid metallic arrow of light material and wicked sharp point. Penetrates straight through things and pins them to walls, floors, objects, etc. Requires a save to pull it out or break free.

[9] Vine Arrow
Arrow made of a tangled up thorny vine. Upon hit creates entangling roots that seek and curl up around all nearby living creatures and objects, dealing 1d4 damage each turn people move through it.

[10] Glowing Arrow
Arrowhead is replaced by a glowing mushroom head or a small jar filled with firebugs. Upon impact, illuminates and 'spotlights' enemies nearby. This negates darkness penalties to ranged attacks and 'highlights' invisible enemies, making them easy to spot.

[11] Lightning Arrow
Powerful arrow that transforms into a lightning bolt as soon as it is loosed. Travels to the target almost instantly, granting +1 to hit, and deals 1d12 lightning damage.

[12] Seeker Arrow
On a miss, this arrow curves around to seek the target again, or at the request of the shooter. Marksmen can control a “swarm” of these arrows to suddenly attack one target all at once; number of arrows they can control at once in a swarm is equal to their level.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Language Point System

I think for most games, simple languages known rules work well. But if you want a bit more granularity or investment to learn a language, here's an alternate system for using points.

Every character begins with one 3 point language, which is their native language, +1 point per intelligence modifier. Keep track of each language you know and are learning. Whenever you make significant progress in either politically or in your own life with members of another race or speaking a separate language, you can give that language +1 point. For example, signing a treaty with a Gnoll tribe will grant you +1, and getting married to one of them will grant another +1 for a total of +2. You'd be fluent by the next harvest you return to your hometown, probably dressed up in their tribal paint too.

To learn anything beyond 2 requires paying to receive a formal education in that language, or you have to be a Courtesan. Treat the written portion of the language as proficiency -1, unless your primary means of learning or using that language is in writing, in that case treat the spoken as = proficiency -1. If the language is totally oral or totally written, then just ignore the other section.

Language Proficiency Scale
[1 Point] Sparse and broken. You can speak just enough to get the basics out, and can now perform trade and speak to members of that race, but receive -1 to reaction checks.

[2 Points] Fluent. You can speak about most topics related to the language, but you may not understand or know the more obscure words or the meanings of some phrases or common sayings.

[3 Points] Well Spoken. Your large vocabulary and understanding of the language allow you to be very eloquent or even poetic when you need to. Your words can give you an air of intelligence or sophistication when dealing with low born and illiterate members of that race, granting +1 to reaction checks with them, but you wouldn't fool a noble.

[4 Points] Eloquent. You're good enough now to impress the nobility with your knowledge of literature, wordplay, rhyme schemes, and the origins of your words mean you have a great ability to use them. You gain +2 reaction checks to commoners and +1 to nobles, who find your politeness a nice change of pace from most riff raff.

[5 Points] Poetic. Beyond even well spoken, you can string together words and phrases brimming with secondary layers of meaning and can acknowledge all kinds of verbal tricks and traps in debates. You get +2 reaction checks with commoners and +2 with nobles. Minor works of literature as well as song and play writing are all possible at this level.

[6+ Points] Bard. Your understanding and grasp of the language is so good that you are capable of creating and disseminating the meanings and origins of popular turn of phrases, and can string together new ones at will. You do not gain more reaction check bonuses, but for each point at 6 and above you put into this language you can create ONE extremely catchy song, inspiring or demoralizing phrase, or semi-magical rhyme. These can grant +1 or -1 morale checks to soldiers the first time they hear it, it can be repeated by children to drive away small bad spirits, etc.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sage Advice

Every since I posted my Sage magic system article, I've been very introspective and honestly proud of the ruleset. Obviously I didn't invent the rules, but the way it's changed up the game I think is a big improvement. Here are all the reasons why ditching the MU and Cleric in your game and using the Sage instead might improve it.

[1] Generalist Classes
There's a lot of fun to be had creating unique and specific classes for your games. Swashbucklers who restore health by drinking grog and have an innate sense to find buried treasure. Wilderness Survivalist experts. Illusionists. Hound-Masters. These classes are instantly brimming with ideas and personality, and I know that many people would want to play as them or have them in their game. But as for as basic rules go for the most basic and generalist classes; they don't fit for those purposes. This is not to mention the restrictions of the setting the game is placed in; a game based on arabian tomb robbers skulking around in Egyptian pyramids doesn't really fit having pirates and the like, not to mention the tech level restrictions.

Some people dislike the Cleric for the above reasons, due to the obvious christian religious connotations of the class and the specific ability to turn undead; what if you don't have undead in your campaign or game world? Wizards aren't as much of a sore spot but some people dislike the method of casting as being the standard for the setting; Vancian magic to conjure fire and perform strange feats of alteration doesn't really fit all settings. The sage, however, fits just about every setting. They are the healing Shamans, the wise monk, the misunderstood witch of the village. And from a gameplay standpoint, they will always be useful; somebody will always be hurting or under the effect of something for them to attempt to help.

[2] Setting Implications
Many people question the inclusion of the traditional magic user for internal consistency for fantasy settings. Why have traditional armies if Wizards have great offensive magic? Why do people need to labor and work when Wizards can summon things, cast Unseen Servant, or animate undead to work? Why do people farm if the ability to conjure things is on the table?

These questions are squashed by the Sage. There's no question as to why there are armies, in fact Sages travel in support OF these armies, the healers and support units. There's no question as to why a town would tolerate a magic user living among them, as these magic users are the healers and spiritual protectors of the town. With several of the more world-breaking types of magic being off the table by removing the MU, the game's setting can exist without difficulty in its medieval stasis.

[3] Keeping Magic Magical
Some people dislike healing magic or common health potions in a setting because it ruins the feeling of 'magic' and 'strangeness' to the exploration and fantastic parts of the setting. I respect this opinion, but from a gameplay sense you're going to be using any kind of item that heals, as well as restoring your health naturally, much more often then not. It's an integral part of the game.

But you know what also ruins the sense of mystery in a setting? If magic users can reliably cast spells that do all kinds of crazy stuff, magic becomes more common and banal. Instead of having a magic user just casting a spell, now spells actually have to be found or 'made' as items or through other methods. Instead of learning fireball and having unlimited access to it, you actually have to find a ball of fire in a jar, or a wand of fireballs and conserve it. Sages in this system can still do all the cool stuff Wizards can, but you can ration it out. Whenever your Fighters are getting magic weapons and armor, and your Rogues are getting weird drugs and magic masks, your Sages are getting all the cool toys of the MU, without any of the overhead.

[4] Fixing (Perceived) Unbalance
Many of the balance problems in later editions of D&D are not present in oldschool games or oldschool style games. “Balance” is also a point of contention and many argue that balance is not important for cooperative games. However many players still complain about the balance between non-magical characters and caster characters. I also believe that magic users are 'unbalanced' in terms of a conceptual nature. Rulebooks spend way too much time cataloging all the spells, magic abilities, and restrictions of the magic user. They feel as a bloated class, as well as having the power to end puzzles or encounters in a snap.

By switching to Sages, you are actually making the Magic User and/or Cleric, in some ways, less interesting. But is this a bad thing? I'd say no- you're making them equally interesting to the other classes and not as (directly) powerful. By making them a Support unit, you're making them integral to the party and highly desired instead of feeling like they are stealing the show. Even better, they aren't actually underpowered at all. In fact, their combination of abilites and high healing/curing potential might make them even more powerful then before.

[5] The Thief
You may wonder what this has to do anything; but fear not. The Thief seems to be second or third on the chopping block for OSR bloggers and homebrewers, right after the racial classes and cleric. Many people complain about the thief being weak or messing up the game in some way due to the nature of their abilities. But this actually isn't a problem with the thief, it's a problem with an MU. With the MU being the main puzzle-solving and obstacle-ending character, including spells which just do what the thief does but better, the thief feels like a weak or unnecessary class.

Sages fix that. Removing that power from the magic user, the thief is suddenly given a place on the party as the best stealth and puzzle-solving character. Instead of the magic user just using up a spell to spider climb or levitate up to a button 30ft up on a dungeon wall, you'd actually have to give the thief a purpose to climb up it. Or your party can solve it in more interesting ways, like using the magic torture rack in the next room that stretches you to be extremely tall temporarily, but is very painful to use. Or gluing three 10ft poles together and trying to poke it. All of these solutions make for a more fun and memorable roleplaying experience then the MU casting a spell and trivializing it.